Set in St. Paul between 1946 and Nov 1965, the novel follows the lives of 2 sisters, Eliza and Shannon Malone who are Irish "twins" and their close bond despite their different personalities. At 17 and 18, something traumatic happens to each sister that shapes the rest of their lives. This book covers realities and insights about motherhood, sisterhood, the stigma of the times for unwed mothers, illegitimate children and childless women. Weaved into the story, we also learn about a real life hero - Frances Perkins. The first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet during FDR's presidency - she was a central figure to the New deal legislation including minimum wage laws, social security, unemployment compensation and child labor laws. This novel was inspired by Susan's own experience (she spent the first days of her life in 1962 in the St. Paul Catholic Infants Home for unwed mothers & their babies and did not find out she was adopted until she was 46 years old).